The Forge

As someone who has always had a love and appreciation of history, I have noted in my personal studies that the greatest and best world changes were brought about those who chose the toughest road to follow, often knowing that their choices were to bring about more personal conflict, pain, isolation, and other assorted trials and tribulations in order to achieve the greatest good. History is replete with such people.  For me, I have admiration for such individuals as Winston Churchill (his biography by William Manchester is second to none) as well as our Founding Fathers, and Jesus Christ, to name a few.  I'm sure each of you reading this can name someone who just totally exemplified your definition of a hero.  However, in our modern times, we live in a world that was created by those who faced conflict and tough times to forge peace and prosperity that was never before enjoyed in world history.  To our discredit and to prove correct the maxim first stated by George Santayana that "and when experience is not retained as among savages, infancy is perpetual.  Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (George Santayana.  The Life of Reason, or the Phases of Human Progress.  Dover Publications, NY.  1980).  We are a society that style over substance.  The pursuit of entertainment and luxury, and the denigration of moral values that used to rule all of human and societal behavior has left us in absolute amazement that what was wrong is now right, and what was wrong vociferously protected by charging those who call it for what it is as bigots, phobes (phobe du jour), and ignorant, to name a few of the many leveled insults.  

To be spiritually, mentally, morally, and physically tough in this world, and to raise such children in this soft and corrupt environment requires a daily approach that begins in the mind and infuses the rest of us and those around us.  Tough individuals are not born, they are forged.  Forging oneself, and those we are seeking to raise and train up to a higher standard of living, requires introspection and discipline.  We have to ask ourselves who we are and what do we want to become.  We have to come up with a plan for personal betterment.  We have to, when confronted with those obstacles which seek to distract us from our personal goals and/or to distract us from a path of excellence, be able to develop strategies to negate them, and work on the areas in which we know we need improvement.  No one is perfect; no one always makes the right choice.  That individual, who strives to heat, beat, and temper oneself like the blacksmith does to iron on the forge, faces the pain and adversity.  He/she does so knowing that moments of failure will arise, yet will again face the fire to further remove personal impurity.  At the end of every day, at the end of every challenge, having successfully faced those difficult trials, will one know in their heart of hearts they are one step closer to being tough as Brass Nuts...

Know that life is an ongoing series of challenges and facing the fires of The Forge, but for those of us who seek to excel may we encourage each other to be better, and to do better.  May we raise our children to be better and tougher than we are.  Never bow, and never kneel. 

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